Motion control kits support advanced robotics applications


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XMOS and Synapticon development kit

XMOS and Synapticon announced a range of development kits that allows embedded designers to quickly and easily create a wide variety of innovative motor control and motion control applications. The kits allow developers to address new opportunities in rapidly growing sectors such as consumer and professional robotics, transportation, and the $170bn factory automation market, enabling emerging trends such as Industry 4.0 and smart manufacturing.

Based on the xCORE range of multicore microcontrollers from XMOS and Synapticon’s SOMANET technology, the kits enable efficient, standards-compliant and safe motion control applications, ranging from simple single-axis solutions to innovative distributed motion control systems.

The first product in the family includes a SOMANET control subsystem, an EtherCAT communications module, 120W motor driver and an example brushless DC (BLDC) motor. The compact kit measures just 40mm x 50mm x 15mm when assembled, making it ideal for use by designers seeking to add intelligence “close to the node” in their automation projects. Options are provided for Hall Sensor and Quadrature Encoder sensing, with support for CiA® 402, the CANopen device profile for drives and motion control.

Configured and programmed in a high-level C-based environment via the XMOS xTIMEcomposer integrated development suite, the hardware package is augmented with robust, proven motor control IP modules from Synapticon that implement position, speed and torque/current control loops. The powerful xCORE multicore microcontroller subsystem is equipped with up to 32 processing cores, providing up to 2000MIPS of raw performance.

Synapticon’s SOMANET technology allows the construction of a range of robotic and cyber-physical systems, from simple motor controllers to complex motion control solutions where the intelligence is distributed and runs alongside the sensors and actuators. This allows the systems to react much faster, improving precision and quality as well as enabling new advanced applications. SOMANET technology delivers high levels of energy efficiency, functional safety and standards compliance. The new development kit allows users to take the first steps on the road to creating these intelligent embedded systems, with fast and easy creation of both single- and multiple-axis control systems.

The kits are the first results of an extension, also announced today, to the existing partnership between XMOS and Synapticon. Synapticon has built its complete range of SOMANET technology on the xCORE multicore microcontrollers. The two companies have now agreed to collaborate on a range of joint development, support and marketing initiatives.

The new motor and motion control kit is available immediately via the XMOS global network of representatives and distributors, priced at $909 for the Hall sensor-only version and $999 for the version equipped with Quadrature Encoder sensing. Visit for more details.